Google's New Browser "Chrome" Revitalizes Browser War

By September 02, 2008 21 comments

Google accidentally sent its Chrome: The Comic Book out a day early. Ever since then, many questions have arisen, but one seems to have become the main issue: Is Google directly attacking Internet Explorer and Microsoft? Some say not, many say yes. Chrome ( was made for specific reasons, among them the need for a rehaul of traditional browser functionality. Even if Google did not have upstaging Internet Explorer and by extension Microsoft in mind (an impossibility) its holistic approach to evolving user interface, javascript support, and browser safety make jabs at IE's specific flaws.

"Is Google a Window's Killer?" Any browser appearing on the Internet scene today would be wasting time and fiber if it wasn't trying. Despite slow and shoddy performance, Microsoft's browser carries 72 percent. There is no choice.

In addition, signs point to a deliberate attack on Microsoft by this new browser. Chrome's Javascript engine is built by Denmark's V8 team. Because the project is open source, it can be used by anyone. As the publicity cartoon says in one panel: " other browsers can include it." What other browsers? Since the only supported platform is Windows as of this writing, the finger is pointed clearly at Microsoft.

A quick look at Chrome shows a drastically scaled down interface. No menu bar, a translucent tab navigation above the intuitively familiar basic buttons and URL bar. The URL bar, however, is what is being referred to as the "Omnibar," an integrated auto-completion, search suggestion interface with other features, too.

The "New Tab Page" is Chrome's easy start "with your nine most visited pages" in a thumbnail grid and "the sites you search on most" in the right sidebar. Cues from lifestreaming sites make using Chrome seem more personal and friendly, an old Google standby in desk-side demeanor. At this writing, downloading is possible here, for Windows only, of course.

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Jeremyhfht, I see your point, and I agree... up to a certain point! ;-)

Not everybody are linux geeks (like me) or general computer-breathing geeks, there are people who just want to use the computer to get things done, things that do NOT relate to computers and they are NOT interested in anything else; imagine layers, historians and people not specially computer-savvy that just see there is already a web browser working there and they use it.

Why should they download another? Who is going to advice them to do it? (lazy Ms-feed sysadmins? I don't think so) And those can be high IQ historians or layers (or whatever) nevertheless.

Submitted by josvazg (not verified) - on September 09, 2008 at 02:17 pm

Do you mean you could do Youtube videos with Chromes' V8 powered Javascript?
(I don't think so)

I hate Flash, but there are things that can't be (still) be done with current Javascript code.

And I hate Javascript (not as much as Flash but nearly), but for the client side is the only practical way to go, even when I prefer to code in Java. (Applets tried and didn't make it.)

Let's see what the future brings. We have:

- Javascript: Crappy language but NOT CONTROLLED BY ONE COMPANY, AND much enhanced by Ajax techniques and JS engines optimizations such as V8 or SpiderMonkey. It can do everything BUT videos, videogames and/or 3D.

- Flash: Defacto standard for presentations, videos, videogames, fun special effects and graphical designer's web sites. Not specially loved by app developers,. It's CLOSED SOURCE CONTROLLED BY ADOBE. It can do anything a JS can, but in "a window" (it's not integrated with the HTML very well), with not so short load times AND requires the plugin.

- Silverlight: Microsoft PUSHED AND CONTTROLLED view of how to program the web client side. Say hello to Microsoft Network 2.0 and goodbye to the old and chaotic Internet that MS did'nt control entirely [ IE(Windows)->IIS(Windows Server) and thats it!!]

- HTML 5? in 2010!!!??? the war will be over by then.

I personally hope JS wins for the sake of open standards and Open Source.

Submitted by josvazg (not verified) - on September 09, 2008 at 02:35 pm

Josvazg, I must disagree with your take on the effect laziness has on intelligence. I admit some people are born more naturally gifted and can afford to be "lazy" due to weak educational standards, but if 70% of the population is above average then welcome to lake wobegon. My personal definition of intelligence is this: "Intelligence is the capacity to expand your knowledge by learning combined with your capacity to analyze that knowledge". With this (more adequate) definition, laziness is contrary to the ability to gather knowledge. Therefore, lazy people are by definition not intelligent (or not AS intelligent) when compared to the least lazy members of our society.

I realize this is off topic, but I felt it necessary to discuss this misunderstanding. Carry on.

Submitted by Jeremyhfht (not verified) - on September 08, 2008 at 11:02 pm

The difference between a web app and desktop app is further blurred by GoogleGears. Build a web app that just runs locally on you machine. No remote web server needed. Initially, designed to all disconnected web app usage and then reconnecting later, gears allows building applications that are hosting IN the browser. Thats the game changer. As is the super fast javascript engine (50x faster on my machine that IEs JS engine - 50 TIMES not 50%. ) That means that graphics, clacls, etc that you couldn't do before in a browser because they would CRAWL, now are doable. think of it as Web3.0

That's what Google could do with this.

Even tho JavaScript isn't my favorite language (Ruby and Java mostly) it is the lingua franca of web browsers and existing AJAX apps. TurboCharging the power plant that runs your browser is a great idea.

They have my vote.

Submitted by Declan (not verified) - on September 08, 2008 at 10:56 am

Sorry, but I disagree with nearly everybody, article included.

I explain myself:

To the article author:

It is still to see if chrome will bite more browser percentage from IE or from Firefox.

I think Firefox is the most probable victim because most of the 72% percent that use IE today do it because it's already there and it works ('more or less'). They WILL almost never take the time to download and install a separate browser of their choice, it's too much hassle for them (and NO, it does not anything to do with their IQ).

Meantime, Firefox users and Linux users like me are using Windows a bit more now just to try out Chrome and see how it works and performs.

So basically they are getting the opposite effect now (taking people back to MsWindows again) till they come up with the Mac and Linux versions of Chrome.

Yes, they said they will 'soon' have the other platform versions. The question here is how 'soon'? and will they be as good and stable as the Windows version or will they lag behind (like Linux's Skype versions)? If so they will be helping Ms out in the end.

Submitted by josvazg (not verified) - on September 06, 2008 at 01:59 pm

Now to Luis Dias:

For the IQ thing, lazy does not mean stupid, just lazy. They will not bother to install a browser if they already have THE browser most people use already installed and working well (or so they think/are told)

"war against Windows itself"?
Making Chrome to work first and best with Windows only?
They they will get the opposite effect, most people relying on MsWindows just to be able to run Chrome reliably.
I think your point here does not hold either.

Submitted by josvazg (not verified) - on September 06, 2008 at 02:03 pm

Now to Jase:

Web applications do not mean internet applications.

For instance you could have your own "google doc" like solution on YOUR corporate servers behind YOUR firewall.

In our company most corporate applications are web based BUT corporate (intranets), run in OUR own servers. And they beat the client-server ones hands-down because, for starters ease of deployment and later management.

Of course you should not run things or put your data in Google (or anybody else's) servers, that's why you should have your own servers.

Submitted by josvazg (not verified) - on September 06, 2008 at 02:08 pm

To dontmatter:

The gap is narrowing to what can't be done as a webapp and has to be done as a native app. Games are a good example and AutoCAD and alikes are other.

For anything else, and specially corporate internal apps, web apps are the way to go, but ON YOUR SERVERS, not on the internet, as I said before to Jase.

Submitted by josvazg (not verified) - on September 06, 2008 at 02:12 pm

to Skip Church:

Web apps don't mean internet apps, as I said before.

You have plenty of opensource and free (as in beer) web apps out there that are way cheaper to deploy and maintain that many client server solutions.

LAN hardware is getting cheaper by the day, so setting you own network with your servers that 'feed' your school, company, library, etc is a good way to save money. Even or specially if your internet connection is not so good.

Submitted by josvazg (not verified) - on September 06, 2008 at 02:16 pm

Thanks josvazg for taking the time to share your opinion with everyone and to keep this conversation going. Keep it up.

Submitted by admin - on September 06, 2008 at 02:18 pm

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